How to convert Microsoft Word to PDF using Google Drive

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How to convert an MS Word .docx or .doc document to a PDF for free, using the new Google Drive interface. It’s a three-step process, but it’s relatively quick and avoids using Adobe Acrobat or spammy online services. This tutorial uses the new Google Drive/Google Docs interface, introduced in 2015. This Google Drive tutorial is narrated by Ian Lamont, author of the top-selling technology guides Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes, Excel Basics In 30 Minutes, and Twitter In 30 Minutes. Leave questions in the comments, and the author will try to answer them to the best of his ability!

How to import a PDF table into Google Sheets

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In less than 12 minutes, learn how to take a PDF table and import it into Google Sheets in order to change the data, create charts, or reconvert it to another format such as Microsoft Excel .xlsx. Note that it’s a complicated workaround involving other tools in the Google Suite (including Google Drive and Google Docs and text and CSV files), and will only work with simple PDF tables – complex tables, or mixed tables and other content on the PDF page can’t easily be converted to PDF using this method. This video also shows how to handle errors in the import process, such as mismatched columns and rows. The PDF to Sheets tutorial is a huge time-saver for power users, accountants, bookkeepers, MBA students, and others who want to save time with Google Sheets. This short G Suite video is narrated by the author of Google Drive and Docs In 30 Minutes.

Using a Bluetooth keyboard with the Google Docs mobile app

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If the virtual keyboard on your phone is difficult to use with the Google Docs mobile app, and you don’t want to use voice-to-text dictation features of Android or iOS, you have the option of pairing a Bluetooth keyboard to your phone.

Bluetooth is a short-range wireless technology that lets people wirelessly connect their phones to other computers or accessories. Bluetooth keyboards are inexpensive and lightweight, and can easily fit into a briefcase or small backpack. For the Google Docs mobile app on an iPhone or Android phone, serious typing is only possible with a bluetooth keyboard.

After turning on Bluetooth on your Phone (via Settings > Bluetooth) and charging the keyboard, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to pair it to your phone using a special on-screen code. This only needs to be done once; afterwards the phone will automatically detect the keyboard as long as the phone’s Bluetooth is activated and the keyboard has power. The following video shows how to pair a bluetooth keyboard to an iPad running a recent version of iOS:

You can then use the keyboard to type email or use other applications, including productivity apps such as Microsoft Word, Google Docs, PowerPoint, and more. I have heard of students who can’t afford a computer using their phone and a Bluetooth keyboard to complete reports and other homework assignments using Google Docs!

Typing and text tricks with the mobile Google apps on an iPhone

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If you have never owned a touch-screen device, entering text into the Google mobile apps (including Google Docs for iOS) will seem strange at first. Instead of a tiny physical keyboard (like the BlackBerry) letters and words are entered on the iPhone’s screen using a tiny virtual keyboard. The touch screen can also be used to select, copy, and paste.

Step-by-step instructions on how to use these features are shown below. Once you get the hang of it, the touch screen will seem like second nature.

How to use the iPhone’s virtual keyboard

Tapping your finger in any area that allows text input (including the cells in Google Sheets, the composition field in Google Docs, or the name field on any of the iOS apps) brings up a virtual keyboard, which covers the bottom third of the screen.

If you have never used a touch screen keyboard before, it will be awkward at first. To type a single letter, a light tap is all it takes. As you type the letter, a tiny square displays the letter being typed right above the key. This is a visual confirmation that you are typing the correct key.

Other keyboard functions include:

  • Deleting a letter. Press the gray Delete button on the right side of the keyboard.
  • Make a letter uppercase. Tap the shift key (upward-pointing arrow highlighted in the image below) once and then tap the letter.
  • Tap the shift button once. It will change from gray to white, and the letters will change from lowercase to uppercase.
  • Shift-lock. Double-tap the shift key. It turns white, and the arrow is underlined. Tap it again to switch back to lowercase mode.
  • Add basic punctuation or numbers. Tap the “123” key once, which brings up the numbers keyboard (see screenshot, above).
  • Add advanced punctuation and numerical operators. From the numbers keyboard, tap the “#+=” button.
  • Emoji and international keyboards. Tap the globe or emoji icon next to the space bar.

How to place the cursor to add or delete text

To place a cursor on another part of the screen (for instance, to add or delete text in the middle of the sentence) follow these instructions:

  1. Hold your finger on the place on the screen where you want to place the cursor.
  2. A magnifying glass appears under your finger, showing the text and the placement of the cursor (see image, below). Move your finger down slightly to get a better view, but don’t let go.
  3. Move to the left or right to move the cursor.
  4. When the cursor is placed where you want it, lift your finger.
  5. Add or delete text as needed using the keyboard.

iPhone typing and text tips

How to copy and paste text

It is also possible to select a word or phrase. Tap and briefly hold a word. The word will be highlighted, with two handles on either side and a menu above:

  • Pull the handles to increase the size of the highlighted text, or select All.
  • Copy or cut the text (you can paste it somewhere else later by double-​tapping where you want to insert the text).
  • Tap the arrow to see other options, which may include formatting and inserting photos into emails.

Google Cloud Print and wired printers

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It’s possible to attach a wired printer to Google Cloud Print. Why would you want to do this, considering a PC or laptop can send print jobs directly to the printer, without Google Cloud Print?

The answer: Other laptops, PCs, and mobile devices on the same network will be able to wirelessly print Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides files. It’s a cool feature, albeit one that requires extra setup steps to make it work.

Here are the instructions for enabling a wired printer to be used with Google Cloud Print services:

  1. Make sure the wired printer is turned on and connected to the PC or laptop you are using with a USB cable.
  2. Launch Google Chrome, and click the More actions icon (three dots in the upper right corner of the browser window).
  3. Click Settings, then Advanced.
  4. Scroll down to Google Cloud Print and select it.
  5. Select Manage Cloud Print Devices.
  6. Under Classic Printers, click Add Printers.
  7. Select from available devices.

Once Google Cloud Print is enabled for a wired printer attached to a PC or a laptop, the printer will not need to be configured for other computers and devices connected to the same wireless network.

How to delete Google Drive (desktop application or mobile app)

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People typically delete Google Drive applications for one of the following reasons:

  • They aren’t using it (or prefer to use Google Drive in a browser)
  • There are issues with syncing files, especially if large files or folders are regularly updated.
  • The computer is about to be sold or transferred to a new owner or user.

Steps to uninstall Google Drive are covered below. Note that files may still be left on your computer or device even after Drive has been removed. To disconnect the new Google Drive Backup & Sync application, follow these steps.

Removing the Google Drive application from a desktop or laptop

If you want to remove the Google Drive application from your computer, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Google Drive icon in the System Tray (Windows) or Menu Bar (OS X) and select Preferences.
  2. Select Account.
  3. Press Disconnect Account

Then follow these steps:

PC

  1. Press Start > Control Panel.
  2. Select Programs > Programs and Features.
  3. Select Google Drive

Mac

  1. If the Google Drive icon is still visible in the Menu Bar, click it and select Quit.
  2. Open the Applications folder and drag the Google Drive application to the trash.
  3. Removing the Google Drive application will not remove files or folders. Those will have to be deleted separately.

Removing the Google Drive app from mobile devices

To delete the Google Drive app from a phone or tablet, follow these steps:

Android

  1. Open Google Play or the Play Store app.
  2. Press the Menu icon (three horizontal bars) and select My Apps.
  3. Under Installed, select Google Drive.
  4. Press Uninstall

iOS

  1. Hold down the Google Drive app icon until it begins to wiggle.
  2. Press the “x” to delete it.

Files that have been downloaded to the device from Google Drive will not be automatically deleted from the device. In addition, uninstalling Google Drive will not impact the operation of the Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides apps.